Upcoming Events

  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    May 25th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

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  • Hellbender Keeper Talk

    May 25th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:15am
    Unseen New World

    The largest salamander in Tennessee, hellbenders can be found in the eastern two thirds of the state. Hellbender populations have gone through dramatic declines across their range over the last 20 years and are now a candidate species for endangered status listing. Hellbenders will spend their entire lives in water. They prefer cold fast moving water with high levels of oxygen due to the fact that 95% of their oxygen is absorbed through their skin. Their tiny eyes can detect light but are not very good at forming images. Hellbenders are solitary nocturnal animals who spend the daytime hiding under rocks. A meeting between two hellbenders will usually result in a fight between them. You can see our hellbenders in Unseen New World.

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  • Red Panda Keeper Talk

    May 25th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Bamboo Trail
    The red pandas were once thought to be relatives of raccoons and bears but research has now put them in their own animal family Ailuridae. Red pandas are solitary and they rarely interact with another red panda outside of mating season. Breeding season is in the early winter with most births being in June. Similarly to their giant panda relatives red pandas have a wrist bone that acts like a thumb to help them grip bamboo. You can see our red pandas on Bamboo Trail.
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  • Clouded Leopard Talk

    May 25th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Bamboo Trail

    Clouded leopards are the top predators in their range and help control populations of prey species. They are solitary hunters active largely at night. Similar to other leopards they are great climbers and can usually be found in trees which they use to hunt and as resting places. Little is known about their breeding behavior but it is thought that they can mate year round. You can visit our clouded leopards on the Bamboo Trail.

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  • Porcupine Keeper Talk

    May 25th, 2016
    11:30am - 11:45am
    Jungle Loop

    African crested porcupines are the largest porcupine in the world and the third largest rodent.  Despite popular beliefs no porcupine can shoot their quills.  If they feel threatened they will raise their quills to seem larger, stamp their feet and click their teeth, and rattle their quills.  If all of that fails the porcupine will ran backward and ram their attacker with their quills.  Porcupines form monogamous pairs, meaning they breed together for long periods of time.  Females will have 1-3 offspring called porcupettes who only stay with the mother for a few months.

    You can meet our three porcupines, Kiazi and his two offspring, Dave Sharpell and Jake Quillenhall (yes, those are their real names) on the Jungle Loop between Tapir and Cougar.

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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    May 25th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Cougar Keeper Talk

    May 25th, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm
    Bamboo Trail
    Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions, are solitary animals mostly active at night. At one point, cougars had the largest range of any mammal in North and South America. With the increase in human population that range has shrunk to mostly mountainous regions of the western United States. Males will have a home range of about 150 square miles which will include several females. Cougars will not mate until they have their own territory and then breeding can take place year round. Females will have 1-6 cubs and breed every 2 years as cubs can remain with their mother for more than a year. Cougars can catch large prey which they can drag over 900 feet from the place of capture to feed. They often bury their kills to feed at a later time. You can see our two cougars along Jungle Trail.
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  • Tapir Keeper Talk

    May 25th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    Jungle Loop
    Baird’s tapirs are one of five species of tapirs. Four species live in Central and South America and one species lives in Asia. The upper lip of the tapir forms a proboscis similar to an elephant’s trunk.  This is used to help them collect their food as they browse. Tapirs are born brown with white stripes and spots to help with camouflage and turn solid brown with age. 
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    May 25th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

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  • River Tank Feeding

    May 26th, 2016
    9:45am - 10:00am
    Unseen New World

    Some of the largest rivers on Earth travel through tropical rain forests. The Amazon has 1,100 tributaries, carries over 500 billion cubic feet of water per day, and has a mouth that is nearly 300 miles wide. Rivers that size have tremendous diversity within them and along their banks, including insects, reptiles, invertebrates, fish, and mammals.

    Within the river tanks in Unseen New World you can see some of this diversity including several species of cichlids. There are over 1600 species of cichlids making them one of the largest vertebrate families in the animal kingdom. You can spot Silver Arowana which can trace their ancestors back to dinosaurs from the Jurassic period. The white-blotched river stingray, one of the rarest in the world, is also visible in the river tanks. You can also spot some of the reptile diversity of tropical rivers such as the green basilisk which is known for its ability to run across water to escape danger. 

    Visiting the river tanks in Unseen New World allows you to get a small glimpse of the great diversity found in tropical rivers. 

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  • Clouded Leopard Talk

    May 26th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:15am
    Bamboo Trail

    Clouded leopards are the top predators in their range and help control populations of prey species. They are solitary hunters active largely at night. Similar to other leopards they are great climbers and can usually be found in trees which they use to hunt and as resting places. Little is known about their breeding behavior but it is thought that they can mate year round. You can visit our clouded leopards on the Bamboo Trail.

    More Details
  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    May 26th, 2016
    10:00am - 10:25am
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight!

    More Details
  • Flamingo Keeper Talk

    May 26th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Flamingo Lagoon
    Caribbean flamingos are one of 6 species of flamingos which can be found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. During breeding season they gather in colonies of 5,000 - 100,000 birds. After attracting a partner through an elaborate mating dance a pair of flamingos will begin to build a mud mound on which the female will lay her egg. Both males and females will help incubate the egg and they share responsibilities in caring for the chick.  Flamingos are born gray and do not get their pink feathers until 1-3 years of age. Their diet contains carotenoid pigments which will give them their characteristic pink color. Flamingos are filter feeders and hold their head upside down in shallow water to strain out their food. Flamingos very rarely lay down and even sleep standing up, often only on one leg. You can see our flamingos in Flamingo Lagoon.
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  • Aviary Keeper Talk

    May 26th, 2016
    11:00am - 11:15am
    Unseen New World

    The Zoo’s tropical aviary is home to more than 10 species of birds native to Central America, South America and Africa. From ground level or a tree-top level mezzanine, guest can peer into a thick canopy of tropical foliage to spot birds like the black and yellow cacique and its gourd-shape nest or the endangered green woodhoopoe, one of the noisiest birds in the aviary. Closer examination of the aviary may also reveal two lizard species; the anole and the basilisk. The Zoo’s aviary is best accessed from inside the Unseen New World across from our display of frogs.

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  • Animal Encounter (near Critter Encounters)

    May 26th, 2016
    1:30pm - 1:55pm
    Along the pathway between Snakebites and Critter Encounters

    This Animal Encounter could include anything from birds of prey to porcupine to snakes and parrots. Small mammals like opossum and rabbit might also make an appearance! 

    Animal Encounters do not occur if it is raining.  There is still a chance you may catch us out during sprinkles though!  

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  • Africa Field Keeper Talk

    May 26th, 2016
    2:00pm - 2:15pm

    Africa field is home to several species including Ostrich, Eland, Bontebok, and other antelope species. 

    The ostrich is the largest flightless bird in the world. They can run about 40 miles an hour covering 10-16 feet with a single stride. The ostrich will often use their wings as rudders to help change direction quickly while running. Ostriches will live in groups of about 12 birds. All the females of the group will place their eggs in the nest of the dominant female. A single ostrich egg is equivalent to 24 chicken eggs! Ostriches can often be found around other grazing animals like antelope and zebras. Ostriches have great eyesight and will often alert other animals of predators in the area. It is myth that ostriches head their heads in the sand. They will put their necks close to the ground to try and hide from predators, from a distance it appears that their head is in the sand.

    Eland are one of the largest hooved animals in the world. They are very adaptable animals with the ability to live in all environments except deserts, forests, and swamps. They are some of the slowest antelope, running only 25 miles per hour. Eland will live in herds of up to 25. There may be more than one male but only the dominant male will have access to females for breeding. Calves are born after a 9 month gestation period and hide after they are born for protection. 

    The bontebok was nearly extinct in the wild but the creation of Bontebok National Park and breeding on game farms led to the current population of over 2,000 existing throughout southern Africa. Their current conservation status includes the closely related blesbok of which 250,000 exist. They graze during the day on grasses in small groups of about 10. Males will mark their territory with dung and participate in challenge rituals with neighboring males. Both males and females will grow horns. 

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  • Red River Hog Keeper Talk

    May 26th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
    African Savannah
    Red river hogs are very social animals who will live in groups of up to 20. Groups are usually made up of 1 adult male, several females, and their piglets. They are mostly active once the sun sets where they will use their shovel like snouts to dig up roots or bulbs to eat, though red river hogs will eat most anything they find. Female hogs will give birth to about 1-4 piglets. Male offspring are forced out of their group at about one year of age. Male red river hogs will fight by butting heads, whipping each other with their tails, and will fluff their facial hair when threatened. You can see our red river hogs on the African Savannah.
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  • Red River Hog Keeper Talk

    May 26th, 2016
    2:30pm - 2:45pm
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  • "Nashville Zoo Takes Flight" Macaw Encounter

    May 26th, 2016
    4:00pm - 4:25pm
    Starts near Amphitheater, ends near Critter Encounters

    See our macaws fly over 1/8 of a mile or nearly 700 feet from the back of the amphitheater to an area near Critter Encounters. Enjoy the beauty of their flight as they make their way on their own over visitors and through the trees to their landing branches. Upon landing you will get an opportunity to take photos and learn from their trainers all about these magnificent birds.Visitors can also enjoy a Macaw encounter at the end of its flight! 

    More Details